Amnesty International directors to deliver global petition to Russian President ahead of Sochi Olympics

A 200,000 strong global petition will be delivered to the offices of Russian President Vladimir Putin calling on him to repeal a series of repressive laws restricting the right to freedom of expression, assembly and association in the run up to the Sochi Winter Olympics.On 30th January 2014, nine Amnesty International European directors will deliver the petition in Moscow while hundreds of Amnesty International members and supporters will be organizing actions and delivering petitions to the Russian embassies in their countries.The delivery will be preceded by a creative stunt with a professional ballerina in central Moscow symbolising the suppression of free speech in present day Russia. The group of directors will then proceed to the presidential offices. “The message to President Putin, from rank and file Amnesty International supporters to world leaders staying away from the Games, is the same – repeal series of laws that restrict the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly. “These laws suppress creativity and the development of civil society and undermine the legitimate role of human rights activists in Russia,” said Sergei Nikitin, Amnesty International’s Moscow Office Director.“Freedom of expression is vital for a functioning healthy society. The Russian authorities cannot be allowed to use the Sochi Olympic Games to gloss over it’s appalling human rights record.”Creative stunt/photo opportunityWhat: Ballerina dances in a “one-person protest” against repression of free speech in Russia.Where: Yauzskie Vorota Square (park), Moscow. Closest Metro station: Kitay-Gorod; parking available.When: 13.00 sharp (the ballerina stunt will last for 3 min.) Following the photo opportunity Amnesty International Directors will then walk to the Presidential Administration Office at 23 Ilyinka Street, Moscow, 103132 where they will deliver the petition at around 13.45 Note to editors:The Directors of Amnesty International Sections in the UK, France, Netherlands, Belgium (Fl), Germany, Finland, Switzerland, Ukraine, Amnesty International’s Moscow office and Amnesty International experts will be available for interviews before, during and after the delivery of the petition.For more information and to arrange an interview please contact:Lydia Aroyo, Europe and Central Asia Press Officer at the International Secretariat on +44 (0) 20 74135599, +44 (0) 7771796350 (mobile); Russian mobile: +7 906 734 8758 or write to [email protected].Amnesty International’s Moscow Office: (+7 495) 6912904 or email: [email protected]